CB2 Opens in Vancouver to Huge Crowds

Nothing gets Canadian shoppers more excited than when a big American store comes up north. So we were there to welcome CB2 to Vancouver

Credit: C. Tse

Shoppers get a sneak peek at CB2’s wares during its opening night party in Vancouver

CB2 arrived in Vancouver with a swish grand opening party to celebrate its second Canadian store

Located at 1277 Robson (@ Jervis), the 8500-square-foot retail space took over the lobby of the Pacific Palisades (formerly hotel, soon-to-be rental apartments).

CB2 is the younger, hipper sister of Chicago-based retail purveyor of lustworthy home furnishings, Crate & Barrel. Its price points make its wares accessible to everyone from college students to home renovators. While there are plenty of solid, sturdy anchor pieces like dining tables and couches if you want to make an investment, it also has an abundance of playful, on-trend accessories that will keep your spaces looking fresh.

There are a lot of cleverly designed pieces that will resonate well with those who live in cozy apartments. I love anything that serves double-duty and a lot of the items I gravitated toward were either compact yet highly functional or substantial and multipurpose.

And the aesthetic is what I think we’re all kind of thirsty for in Vancouver. Unlike Crate & Barrel, CB2 is dedicated entirely to the urban sophisticate, who’s looking for fun, contemporary, unique and smart pieces.

A Tour of the New CB2

It was a blustery night when CB2 opened its doors to the media, but a lot of people came out to get first dibs on what the store has to offer. CB2 officially opened to the public Saturday February 19.

As soon as I arrived at the media event, a friendly army of greeters helped me check my coat, offered me food and wine, and started introducing me to the core team behind CB2’s Vancouver launch. This meet’n’greet is always important during media events but all I wanted to do was lunge myself at the table nearby full of pretties.

Luckily, I was soon introduced to the charismatic Ryan Turf, merchandise manager, and Alicia Waters, brand director, both in from Chicago for this event. They kindly offered to give me a personal tour of the new store.

CB2 Highlights

We decided to call this section Ryan’s Room because it happened to contain many of his favourite items, like the 1938 leather Butterfly chair (far left, $449), made with leather from India so each piece is unique. In the middle was the Club atomic orange sofa ($1299), which Ryan loved for its exaggerated flange detail, curved ergonomic back, and eco-friendly construction. And on the far right is the Clutch floor lamp ($229), from Ellenberger Designs, with two magnetic shades that can be plucked right off and reattached anywhere on the Scandi-style white oak base. Very cool. Just make sure you use cool-to-the-touch CFL bulbs.

CB2’s top selling sofa, the Avec tweed ($1399)

In this room display, what stood out for me was the almost-invislble Peekaboo clear C table ($199) made from thick moulded clear acrylic with clear acrylic casters. I love the mod feel to it as well as the fact that it’s a space-saving piece of furniture. This is a CB2 favourite and Alicia has this in her own home.

Another CB2 best-seller is the Dylan dining table ($1099), made from plantation-grown, sustainable solid shesham wood planks set atop an architectural hand-welded iron “W” base.

Ryan told me that they discovered the artist, Jonas Wahlstrom, a couple of years ago at a home show just a few blocks away from the Crate & Barrel headquarters in Chicago. They loved his designs, brought him into the fold, and the rest is history. What an inspiration to all independent artists who stay true to their craft and are fortunate enough to get that one lucky break.

Another favourite item of Ryan’s and Alicia’s is the Lubi daybed ($999), which is, by day, a sleek lounge and by night, a comfy, spacious bed. It’s a stacked twin sleeper that unfolds to an oversized queen-sized mattress. Traditional sofabeds are usually a hot mess, but the simplicity in this design (no bars, springs, or creases to interfere with sleep) makes this a winner. The cushions are made from high elastic polyurethane cell foam and the top cover is even removable for easy cleaning.

Another space-saving piece that caught my eye was the Calliper coffee table ($349). There are two concealed drawers angled into each end, perfect for stashing remotes, iPads, books, pens, etc. I love anything that can quickly hide clutter.

This is the sort of thing that CB2 does best – vibrant colours, modern designs and functional spaces.

CB2 even makes an office look fun. I’d work at this desk.

CB2’s One of a Find program features one-time-only original works of art created in limited quantities in collaboration with artists from around the world. These items relay a strong sense of social narrative and cultural heritage, which is a lovely juxtaposition against the more contemporary, glossy pieces in the store.

There was plenty to drink at the opening, but what caught my eye here, beyond all the wine and cute bar boys, were the yellow cage brass pendant lamps ($199). I love the industrial feel offset by the soft glow especially when they’re clustered. They were displayed with a filament bulb, which accented their vintage feel. They also come in red, which was recently featured in The New York Times.

While we didn’t have time to get through the entire store, Alicia repeatedly encouraged me to check out the dinnerware section, which was one of her favourites. Unfortunately, the section got very crowded but I did see some lovely glass- and stemware before getting shuffled, and I’m definitely going back another day for a closer look.

And finally, I spotted Oliver, CB2’s beloved unofficial mascot. For the Vancouver store opening, CB2 produced two appetizer plates ($2.95) featuring Oliver as a canuck. In one he’s a Mountie and in the other he’s (of course) playing hockey.

CB2 is giving away a $500 shopping spree every day for its first 40 days (February 18 – March 28). Visit the store for more details.